How to identify the UK’s most scarce £2 coin

The 2002 Commonwealth Games England £2 Coin was recently confirmed as the most scarce £2 coin in the UK in our latest Scarcity Index update. It jumped up two places to the top spot increasing its score by 19 points, from 81 to 100.

But you’d be forgiven for thinking that this coin is easy to identify.

In fact, only the most eagle-eyed collectors will be able to spot the difference between the four £2 coins that make up the 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 series.

commonwealth 4 coins - How to identify the UK's most scarce £2 coin

The four coins feature the same base design, making them hard to tell apart

There’s a number of reasons they’re hard to tell apart. Firstly, there isn’t just one Commonwealth Games £2 coin but in fact four different designs – only identified by a hardly distinguishable cameo design representing each of the UK’s constituent nations, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

Further confusion arises when the flags are shrunk to less than 1mm in size, struck during the minting process and subjected to the usual wear and tear of a circulation coin. By this stage they all start to look very similar.

st change checker 2002 commonwealth games 2 coins on desk - How to identify the UK's most scarce £2 coin

Wear and tear can make it harder to distinguish between the 4 Commonwealth £2 coins

Tougher still, the only difference between England’s ‘St George Cross’ flag and Northern Ireland’s ‘Ulster Banner’ flag is the ‘Red Hand of Ulster’, the star and the crown which feature at the centre.

change checker commonwealth games 2 pound blog image - How to identify the UK's most scarce £2 coin

The ”Red Hand of Ulster’, the star and the crown are the only difference between the two flags

On uncirculated coins it is usually possible to see the difference between the flags and determine which coin you have found.

However, to be able to identify a circulation 2002 Commonwealth Games England £2 coin with certainty, you will likely need a magnifying instrument, such as a Phonescope. The Phonescope works by clipping onto a mobile or tablet device, magnifying the camera and allowing you to take  close-up photos and videos.


phonescope - How to identify the UK's most scarce £2 coinThe Phonescope is the perfect tool for viewing the details of coins up close.

Suitable for all popular smartphones and tablets.

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  1. alex on August 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I have a 1986 £2 coin in good condition – any good to anyone?
    what is it worth?



  2. Rahim hassanpour on August 2, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Hi everyone I think I have the most scarce two pound coin. I want to know how would I come about finding the value of the coin? I hope someone would be able to help me.



  3. Eloise on August 1, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Got a Benjamin Britten 50p coin in swap



  4. Mike on July 23, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Well how much are the 2002 £2 circulated worth? I have Irish & English versions. Thanks Mike



    • Luke Hearn on July 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Hi Mike,
      It is hard to say exactly what they are worth as this depends on a number of factors including the condition of your coin. They are scare so would likely sell for over face value. I would suggest having a look on eBay at what similar coins are selling for. Thanks Luke



      • Mike on July 24, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        Thanks Luke will check Ebay



  5. Michael on July 22, 2017 at 10:47 am

    How is it possible for the commonwealth England £2 coin to jump two places on the scarcity index making it the rarest circulation? Not that I mind as that is the only commonwealth £2 I have in my collection.



    • Luke Hearn on July 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Hi Michael, We use a number of factors to calculate our Scarcity Index, not just mintage figures. We take into consideration coin listings and swap availability from our web app too. That is how coins can change places. Thanks luke



  6. Kenneth Richards on July 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I have 3 of the four, how much are they worth. 2012



    • Luke Hearn on July 24, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Hi Kenneth,
      It is hard to say exactly what they are worth as this depends on a number of factors including the condition of your coin. There are scare so would likely sell for over face value. I would suggest having a look on eBay at what similar coins are selling for. Thanks Luke



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